The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Salt Rising Bread

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kathryn's picture
kathryn

Salt Rising Bread

Are there any other salt rising addicts out there? I have just started making it with some success after discovering an obsolete piece of photography equipment in my old darkroom, a constant temperature water bath. Stinky to make and delicious to eat, Salt Rising is a bread once tasted you never forget. Would love some recipes and tips from successful bakers of this old Appalacian bread.
Kathryn

Floydm's picture
Floydm

I've never tried it, but I just read this piece on it while monitoring the bread feed.

Weird. I'll have to try it some time.

How does it taste compared to yeasted bread?

kathryn's picture
kathryn

Dear Floydm,
As I said it is a taste once experienced you never forget. It is closer to sourdough than regular yeast bread but more cheesey than sour. It has a dense, even texture, and is best eaten sliced thin, toasted and buttered.

I have read that it is very tempramental to make and after 3 initial successes I had two failures. There seem to be two starter types, one with potatoes and cornmeal in the starter and one with just cornmeal, as in the recipe you posted. My first failure was with the cornmeal only but then I went back to adding the potatoes and had another failure. I know you have to use whole ground cornmeal and NOT degermed which I used in all cases but I wonder if it has to be very fresh since when I first opened the package I had the best results.

I also thought that maybe the first 3 successes used up all the yeast making bacteria (is that what activates the starter) floating around in my darkroom. Who knows. I plan to try again this weekend.

Traditionally you use only white flour, which tastes great but in order to make it a little more healthy I added some whole wheat. THis works to a point but if you add too much it doesn't seem to rise. Also I have only tried making it in bread pans and the first time it did not rise in the typical dome shape but straight up! they literally looked like bricks but it tasted great.

Also the Joy of Cooking said if you use non mealy potatoes it will not stink up the house so much and this seems to be true but it also seems that a little stinkiness is necessary for that real cheesy flavor.

I got my recipe from a cookbook called Lost Recipes, by the author of the Fanny Farmer cookbook (I don't have it with me right here).

You should really try it. I will send my recipe if you would like. I also plan to try your method for french bread this weekend.

Kathryn

kathryn's picture
kathryn

I tried fresh cornmeal and it worked again. Or maybe the bacteria in the darkroom have had time to refresh. I only had one potato but that seemed to be enough.
Kathryn

missmarty1's picture
missmarty1

If you still have the recipe I would truly like to have it.  My husband grew up on it but the older bakers who made it regularly have passed on.


Marty

mattmmille's picture
mattmmille

   Floyd...I'm new to the forum here and thought I would share a successful salt rising bread experience! I used your recipe and had success! I am definitely a novice baker. Scottish Shortbread has been my "thing" for decades, but the science of bread is a little scarey to me. I made salt rising bread a couple of times, several years ago, with success, but it IS a labor of love and intensive; so I haven't made it in awhile. I didn't have stone ground cornmeal, so I substituted a masa harina that I use for tortillas and it worked! I seemed to have a little trouble with getting the starter going overnight, so I tried it on a "warming zone" burner on my Whirlpool electric (flat) stovetop and it seemed to start taking off. The temp got almost to 120F after awhile, so I kinda edged it off a bit. I followed some advice I had seen elsewhere and saved about a cup of the sponge as starter for another batch, but I don't know how best to make up the volume for the next sponge...should I just add a quart of warm water? Do I need to add additional sugar/salt before proceding to the sponge step? Anyway, the 3 loaf initial batch is beautiful and I enjoyed Homemade Salt Rising Toast for breakfast this morning for the first time in several years! (My homemade stawberry jam was just the right touch!) Thanks for the recipe and helpful tips! 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Does it taste or smell Pecorino, Parmesan or Limburger cheesy while baking or eating?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

had a starter and bread recipies for salt rising bread in his 1973 edition of "The Complete Book of Bread" that I used with success, many many rears ago.  Thank goodness we still have salt!  It does smell a little but that is what porches were for :-)